Arts District’s AMP Lofts aims to bring artists back to the neighborhood

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High prices have already pushed many artists out

Downtown’s Arts District is exploding with new development, but most new housing is considered pretty far out of reach for the neighborhood’s namesake artists, many of whom have been squeezed out of the AD. But a new project hopes to bring some of them back with artist-focused amenities and a cool-looking building, the architect tells Architect’s Newspaper.

Steinberg principal Simon Ha told the Architect’s Newspaper that the design team working on the project wanted the project to look artsy, too, making the street faced of the building “funkier than those of a typical podium-style building.”

The AMP Lofts project, designed by Steinberg Architects with Shimoda Design Group, will have 320 live/work units and amenities aimed at artists, like a shared studio-like workshop where residents can make and show large pieces. The space will even have a double-height loading dock, to move artwork in and out of the workshop easily.

The mixed-use project will also have about 20,000 square feet of street-level commercial space, a gym, a pool, a sauna, and a dog run.

Developer Greystar got building permits for the AMP Lofts in January, city records show, and work appears to be underway on the site now.

Asian-inspired 70s modern overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir asks $2.3M

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Designed by architect Joseph Kitashima, it features a koi pond and faux pagoda.

In Silver Lake’s Moreno Highlands, just a few doors down from R.M. Schindler’s Droste and Walker Residences, you’ll find this unique modernist statement designed by Orange County architect Joseph Kitashima in 1977.

Now on the market for the first time, the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath post-and-beam is an effective blend of California Modernist and Japanese influences.

Notable attributes include beamed ceilings, ceramic tile floors, sliding glass walls, and expansive decks offering picture-postcard views. The 7,789-square-foot property’s grounds contain a koi pond, faux pagoda, and manicured backyard. There’s also a two-car garage equipped with an elevator.

Asking price for the hillside home is $2.295 million, and open house is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

33 petite apartments headed to Melrose and Harvard

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In a new five-story building

Nearly three dozen small but sleek apartments are headed to Melrose Avenue and Harvard Boulevard, between the 101 freeway and Paramount Studios.

Developer AddaZero filed plans Wednesday to build the new 33-unit building at 4760 Melrose. The new building would reach a height of five stories, with 834 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. Three of the units will be set aside for tenants with very low incomes.

According to the architect, Graham Ferrier, the units—ranging in size from 356 to 586 square feet—will feature sleeping lofts, 14-foot tall walls of glass, 17-foot ceilings, and roll-up facades that lead to balconies. Some will boast terraces.

There will be 30 parking spaces and a shared rooftop deck.

Construction is scheduled to start by the end of this year. An opening is pegged for spring 2019.

4760 Melrose Avenue as it looks today.Via Google Maps

Solar eclipse 2017: What to expect, where to see it in Los Angeles

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We won’t see a full eclipse, but a partial eclipse is still pretty special

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 16, 2017 and has been updated with the most recent information.

An awesome astrological event—a total solar eclipse—will be visible on Monday from coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly a century.

Astronomers and eclipse chasers describe the rare spectacle of a total eclipse as euphoric and life-changing, but only places that fall in the direct path of the moon’s shadow will see the sun completely shrouded by the moon.

Los Angeles is not one of those lucky cities positioned in the path of totality. It will be treated instead to a partial eclipse. But that’s still pretty special, says David Reitzel, an astronomy lecturer at the Griffith Observatory.

Solar eclipses only occur twice a year, and to see them, you have to be on the right side of Earth. The last solar eclipse visible in LA was in 2014. After Monday, you’ll have to wait six years to see another one, according to Reitzel.

Eclipses, even partial ones, are reminders, he says, that “we live in a universe, that we have a moon, and that we understand, very well, celestial mechanics and physics.”

“We’re able to predict eclipses thousands of years into the future and we’re getting it right,” Reitzel says. “We can enjoy the spectacle, and we should celebrate our civilization and understanding of science.”

Below, we’ve rounded local viewing events and key facts, including what time to step outside to look up at the sky—if you do, it’s absolutely critical that you protect your eyes. Happy sky gazing!


How much of an eclipse will we see here?

In Los Angeles, the moon will obscure about 70 percent of the sun’s diameter and 62 percent of its area.

For a precise estimate, check out this handy interactive tool from Vox that tells you how much of the eclipse you’ll be able to see in your zip code.

What time does the eclipse start in Los Angeles?

It will happen rather slowly, over about a 2.5-hour period, starting at 9:05 a.m.

Experts expect it will peak here just before 10:22 a.m. “At that point the sun will kind of look like a tilted smile in the sky,” E.C. Krupp, director of Griffith Observatory, told the Los Angeles Times. It will be over by 11:45 a.m.

What will it look like?

In Los Angeles, “It will kind of look like a cloudy day,” Marco Velli, a professor of space physics at UCLA and a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tells Curbed.

Reitzel, with the Observatory, agrees that it won’t be mind-blowing. But, he says, you’ll definitely be able to tell that the sun is less bright. It will feel a little dimmer. It will feel like a cooler morning.

“Carving out a little bit of time from your morning to see some of these amazing effects is worth it,” he says.

And, in case you need any more convincing, Tyler Nordgren, a physics professor at the University of Redlands, tells the New York Times that a partial eclipse is not to be missed:

“Under no circumstances should anyone think, ‘Eh, it’s not going to be a big deal’ … If nothing else, every single person in the United States is going to be in part of the moon’s shadow that day.”

What will the weather be like on eclipse day?

The eclipse will be best viewed in a cloudless sky that’s not obscured by buildings. The National Weather Service forecast on Monday morning calls for patchy fog followed by sunny skies.

The interactive map to the right shows the likelihood of being able to view the eclipse. Zoom into and click on individual neighborhoods and cities to see the “viewable” percentage; a higher percentage means you’re more likely to have a view unobstructed by clouds.

Bright Fashion District loft asks $500K

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High ceilings, plus custom cabinets and closets

This airy, 910-square-foot loft in Downtown’s Fashion District mixes homey and industrial vibes.

It features big windows that overlook the street and allow for lots of light, plus “state-of-the-art cable lighting,” concrete floors, and in-unit laundry. The layout is open, but little nooks have been carved out for the living, dining, and sleeping areas. For the latter, a custom closet is used as a dividing wall, behind which a bed and writing area have been tucked.

The unit comes with access to the Santee Village complex’s pool, gym, and other amenities.

The loft, which last sold in 2011 for $244,000, is now listed for $500,000.

First look at proposed mixed-user near Hollywood Palladium

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It could have retail and restaurants or a grocery store

New planning documents are offering a first look at a mixed-user proposed about a year ago by developer MCRT Investments on a site is directly behind where the Palladium Residences are expected to rise.

The seven-story building, called Modera Argyle, would have 276 residential units (most, with private balconies). The units would be a mix of studios, and one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, with the majority being one-bedroom units. Thirteen of the units would be available for very low income tenants.

Designed by Carrier Johnson + Culture, the Modera Argyle would also contain four levels of underground parking.

The non-residential aspect of the project could go one of two ways: 24,000 square feet of commercial space for restaurants and retail or a 27,000-square-foot grocery store.

The project would require the demolition of six buildings and a parking lot on the site at the southeast corner of Selma and Argyle avenues. The developer anticipates construction taking about 30 months, with the project ready in 2023.

 Via city planning department

Hollywood Reporter building recommended for landmark status

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The newspaper’s former home could be razed to make way for a new development

The former Sunset Boulevard home of The Hollywood Reporter may be on its way to landmark status after the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted to designate the property a Historic Cultural Monument Thursday.

The commission’s recommendation still needs to be approved by the City Council, but a landmark designation could make things tricky for Harridge Development Group’s planned overhaul of the Crossroads of the World complex down the block.

According to a draft environmental impact report, the Reporter building and several other historically significant properties in the area would be razed to make way for the new project, which is set to include two residential towers and a hotel.

A landmark designation, however, would delay the building’s demolition for up to a year while city officials explore options to preserve the property.

Local writer and historian Charles Fisher, who nominated the THR property on behalf of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, told the committee the building deserved to be saved due to its distinctive Regency Moderne style and close association with The Hollywood Reporter and its influential founder, William Wilkerson.

Wilkerson also operated several nightclubs on the Sunset Strip, including Ciro’s and Cafe Trocadero. Today, however, he’s most often remembered for outing communist sympathizers working in Hollywood, leading to the industry’s infamous practice of blacklisting political dissidents.

Jerry Neuman, a representative of Harridge Development, acknowledged the site’s historic significance, but argued that parts of it were not worthy of preservation.

The property actually consists of three separate buildings that were all constructed between the 1920s and 1940s. The Sunset Boulevard-facing structure is the oldest of the buildings and originally served as a luxury menswear boutique called Sunset House. Its distinctive facade was added in 1937 by architect Douglas Honnold.

The properties behind it held offices and a printing facility and are far less architecturally distinctive, Neuman says. He describes one of the buildings, as “merely a large box.”

But commission president Richard Barron argued that the entire complex was significant as THR’s base of operations from its founding in 1930 until the 1990s (LA Weekly used the site after that, before moving out in 2008).

In a 3-1 decision, the commission recommended the entire property for inclusion on the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments and even diverged from city staff, finding that the building met two—rather than one—criteria for historic significance.

A staff report noted that alterations over the years had detracted from the building’s architectural significance, but members of the commission argued that many of the changes were reversible.

Barron suggested that preserving the building would be easier if it met multiple requirements for landmark status.

“You know how we deal with developers,” he said at one point, addressing the other members of the commission. “They’re going to weasel around … the more glue on it, the more it sticks.”

Beyoncé and Jay Z reportedly close on their first LA home

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They finally did it

Beyoncé and Jay Z have finally managed to buy their first home mansion in Los Angeles. Citing anonymous sources, the Los Angeles Times reports that the power couple has closed on a newly built, contemporary mansion in Bel Air, paying $90 million for the sleek, hotel-like spread.

It’s the priciest home sale in Los Angeles County this year, topping Mark Walter’s purchase of David Geffen’s Malibu estate for a reported $85 million.

Beyoncé and Jay Z’s new property comprises six structures and holds a 15-car garage, bulletproof windows, helipad, and four pools. It was designed by prolific spec mansion builder Paul McClean.

After relocating from New York City, the Grammy award-winning musicians have crashed in fancy hotels and rented estates across LA, including Malibu’s La Villa Contenta and ex-Dodger owner Jamie McCourt’s old house in Holmby Hills.

They’ve been trying to buy property in LA for at least a year now, but have been outbid twice.

The Bel Air spec house was for sale off-market, reportedly with a price tag of $130 million, according to the Times.

Page Six says their neighbors in the East Gate Bel Air neighborhood will include Salma Hayek and Tom Jones.

For $650K, a cozy Pasadena bungalow built in 1912

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The two-bedroom home is fronted by a grassy lawn and an enclosed patio

Located in northern Pasadena, this compact bungalow was built in 1912 and offers nice vintage details, including hardwood floors and planked ceilings with exposed wood beams.

The 984-square-foot home has two bedrooms and one bathroom, along with a small dining room, a recently updated bathroom, and a cozy living room arranged around a white brick fireplace. A front entry room has been staged as a separate parlor/living space.

The U-shaped house sits on a 6,797-square-foot lot with a grassy front lawn and a front porch framed by separate wings of the home. Out back is an enclosed gravel backyard with brick patios, a barbecue area, room for outdoor seating, fruit trees, and other vegetation.

Last sold in 1996 for $130,000, the home is now asking $649,900. Open houses are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Living room with fireplace
Dining room
Bedroom one
Bedroom two
Front view of house
Front deck
Backyard with outdoor seating

Mid-City residential project gets a Googie-style redesign

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It’s part of a plan to preserve elements of a 1960s-era hamburger stand

The developer of a residential project planned for Mid-City told the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee yesterday that the new development would integrate key parts of a 1960s-era hamburger stand currently at the project site.

An updated rendering of the building shows the restaurant’s Googie-style architecture has influenced the design of the whole project, with wavy lines and a festive color scheme adorning the entire structure.

Earlier this year, Councilmember Paul Koretz led an effort to landmark the Pico Boulevard burger stand—once an Orange Julius and now home to LA Burger—in order to save it from demolition.

However, on Tuesday, Faisal Alserri, senior planning deputy for Koretz, told the PLUM Committee that the councilmember had reached a compromise with developer Matt Nelson to preserve some of the stand’s most recognizable features. Those include its zigzagging roof and eye-catching sign, which will both be incorporated into a reconstructed restaurant space at the ground level of the new building.

In an emailed statement, Alserri tells Curbed that Koretz also asked Nelson to incorporate some of the building’s Googie flair into the wider project.

Nelson told the committee Tuesday that he had consulted with Armet Davis Newlove, the architecture firm that designed the hamburger stand, on the new building’s design.

LA Burgercity planning department
The project’s original design was far less attention-grabbing than the updated look.

Aesthetic features of the proposed structure now include sloping overhangs, folding fan-style balconies, and unusual shapes distributed throughout the facade.

Alserri says the new design “will highlight the Orange Julius style and hopefully raise awareness of this type of colorful geometric architecture in LA’s history.”

The new six-story building will bring 48 units of housing to the area. It was approved by the planning department in September.

The PLUM Committee, meanwhile, rejected a nomination to landmark the former Orange Julius Tuesday—with the developer’s assurance that elements would be included in the new project. Nelson told the committee that LA Burger would continue to operate the restaurant in the new development.

Dazzling 1970s Palm Springs oasis seeks $1.45M

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Sunken living room alert

The desert is hot, but this four-bedroom house in Palm Springs is very, very cool. Designed in 1978 by architect Hal Lacy, it has all the groovy bells and whistles one might hope for in a home of this period, namely a sunken living room, an amazing atrium, and more than one wall entirely covered in mirrors.

The nearly 3,700-square-foot residence is being sold by filmmaker David Frankham, who renovated it, adding Heath tiles, handmade tiles in the shower, and marble and Caesarstone. There’s also a plug to charge a Tesla on-site.

The house sits on an ample site, about one-third of an acre, with plenty of room in the rear yard for entertaining. The centerpiece of the backyard is a pool that, from above, resembles an emerald-cut gem.

The house is listed for $1.45 million.

Updated midcentury modern with wraparound deck asks $998K in Glendale

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Views and plenty of natural light

This 1964-built home in Glendale is perched on a hilly lot overlooking the city, with views stretching to Downtown LA.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and dining room take advantage of those views. Vaulted ceilings and an open floor plan help to give it an airy feel. Meanwhile, a long deck wraps around the house, providing plenty of space for outdoor seating.

The modern-style residence has three bedrooms and two baths spread across 1,776 square feet. Interior features include cork floors, a white brick living room fireplace, and a recently updated kitchen with modern appliances and quartz countertops.

It sits on a 7,206-square-foot lot with fruit trees and a long driveway leading to two (yes, two) two-car garages. Per the listing, the home has been equipped with new plumbing and electrical wiring, along with solar panels and a drip irrigation system.

The home last sold in 2013 for $671,000 and has since been thoroughly remodeled. It’s now asking $998,000.

Exterior of house with deck
Kitchen with new appliances
Living room with fireplace
Wider view of dining room
Front view of house

Cruise the future LAX people mover in this new video

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Hard to believe we don’t have one of these already—but better late than never, right?

It’s hard to imagine a day when Los Angeles International Airport won’t be choked with traffic, but a new video helps. First spotted by Streetsblog and produced by Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX, the video offers a brief look at how the automated people mover will connect travelers to terminals, and how improvements at the airport will fit together.

The new people mover will have three new stops within the terminal area and three outside, including stops at the new Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Station, where it will connect to the Green and Crenshaw light rail lines. The train will operate every two minutes, and it will run 27/7, for free.

The automated train is part of a larger program called the Landside Access Modernization Plan, which aims to reduce LAX traffic. Two other major elements of the plan are a streamlined drop-off and pick-up structure and a unified car rental facility.

The construction of these new facilities will require more space, and the city recently decided to invoke eminent domain to get the last of the property in the LAX-adjacent neighborhood of Manchester Square that’s needed to build out part of the project.

LAX expected LAMP to break ground this year and wrap up in 2023, but with a pending lawsuit against the project, it’s unclear if that timeline will be disrupted.

City committee rejects landmark nomination for Mid-City hamburger stand

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But parts of the building may still be preserved

A 1960s-era hamburger stand in Mid-City isn’t likely to gain landmark status after the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee voted against adding the structure to the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments Tuesday.

But elements of the Googie-style building may still be preserved as part of a mixed use development project planned for the property, which is located at 6001 West Pico Boulevard.

Earlier this year, Councilmember Paul Koretz led an effort to landmark the property, fearing that it would be demolished to make way for a six-story residential building.

Koretz told Curbed that the tiny hamburger stand was an example of a type of architecture that is “fast disappearing in LA.”

On Tuesday, however, Faisal Alserri, senior planning deputy for Koretz, told the committee that the councilmember had withdrawn his support for the nomination after meeting with developer Matt Nelson to find a way to preserve key elements of the building.

According to Alserri, the project’s developer has agreed to a covenant with the city guaranteeing that the restaurant’s most architecturally recognizable features—its zigzagging roof, facade, and flamboyant signage—will be integrated into the design of the new project.

The 281-square-foot structure once housed an Orange Julius and is today home to a restaurant called LA Burger, which will stay on as a tenant in the new building. Designed by influential architecture firm Armet & Davis (which also designed classic Los Angeles eateries like Johnnie’s Coffee Shop and the La Cienega Norm’s), the building was unanimously recommended for landmark status by the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission.

But Alserri said the compromise with the developer was the city’s best chance to preserve the building—at least in part.

Nelson told the committee that he’s consulted with Armet Davis Newlove—as the firm is known today—on how to integrate the structure into the new development.

Sunny Santa Monica condo seeks $579K

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The top floor unit offers open living space and a private balcony

This airy little one-bedroom unit in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood is just blocks from the beach in a complex built in the late 1960s.

At 699 square feet, it’s not exactly cavernous, but it includes an open living and dining area, a bedroom with plenty of natural light, and a sliding glass door that leads out to a private balcony.

Per the listing, the building has been recently redone and updates include new roofing, a remodeled swimming pool, and fresh landscaping features.

In addition to the pool, the building offers shared amenities like a hot tub, bike storage room, and a parking space. Shared laundry facilities are offered on-site.

Located on the top floor of the building, the unit is asking $579,000. HOA dues are $395 per month.

Living room
Arched doorway in living room
Living room looking toward sliding door
View looking down on pool

City planning for new Pico-Union hotel project

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The 125-room hotel would be aimed at visitors to the convention center

A small grocery store in Pico-Union could soon be replaced with a new hotel if the LA City Council approves a motion from Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

The motion, which was OK’d by the council’s Planning and Land Use Committee Tuesday, would alter the property’s zoning requirements to allow for a hotel with 125 guest rooms.

According to the motion, an unnamed developer has proposed redeveloping the site, located at 2268 West Pico Boulevard, with “a well-known and reputable” hotel brand. The project would bring “reasonably priced” rooms, as well as a restaurant and meeting place on the ground floor.

Cedillo writes that the hotel would serve visitors to the convention center, though the project site, located on the opposite side of the 110 freeway, isn’t exactly right next door to that particular destination.

City officials have been eager to expand options for convention center visitors lately, offering enticing incentives for developers planning to construct hotel projects in the Downtown area. Last year, developers of a reasonably priced 250-room hotel in the South Park neighborhood even offered up $150,000 to study what kind of incentives the city could provide.

Cedillo also argues in his motion that the potential Pico Boulevard hotel would serve as a “catalyst for the economic development of the surrounding commercial areas.” Right now, the stretch of Pico around the hotel is dotted with a variety of retail and restaurant businesses, mainly in older, lower-slung buildings. But as denser development projects spread out of Downtown, that trend could certainly change.